Vicky Garratt, Marketing and Communications Manager
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) has been a hot business topic over the past few years. Many organisations claim to be D&I-driven or say that they want to become more D&I-driven. But how does one put this nice idea into practice? Besides, what even is the point of having a more diverse and inclusive membership? These are some of the very valid questions that we are frequently asked by our membership and association clients.
Firstly, I think it’s important to make clear that D&I isn’t all about ethnicity. Ideally, a diverse population should be made up of people with differing religious beliefs, genders, ages, sexual orientations, sexual identities, varying states of mental and physical health as well as being diverse in race and ethnicity.
You may have personally had a situation whereby you were looking at a job ad that specified that to be eligible for the role, you must have been educated in a particular type of establishment. Or, to a particular standard. Or you may have experienced walking into a new job and the overall environment and culture just feels alien and you just don’t fit in. Perhaps due to a lack of visual representation of people similar to yourself elsewhere within the business. But whatever the reason, these are the sorts of things that can create a feeling of isolation, making people feel unvalued and left out.
So, when clients, especially our membership and association clients, ask us:
- How do they go about engaging with a more diverse membership?
- Why is having a more diverse and inclusive membership beneficial?
…we always start by firstly addressing the second question. According to Business Insider Gen Z are graduating this year (2019). A study conducted around 2 years ago revealed that Gen Z are even more diverse than Millennials with 81% of them having at least one or more friends from a different race.
If member acquisition, retention and engagement are core focuses for your organisation over the coming years, then diversity and inclusion also HAVE to be! If the next generation of potential members are more diverse than ever before, you need to appeal to them in ways that you may not have had to previously.
Also, why wouldn’t you want to have a better understanding of other people’s, cultures, gender or beliefs? Organisations are 43% more likely to experience higher profits the more culturally and ethnically diverse their board members are. Whilst the top-quartile of businesses with the best gender diversity at executive level are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to have a more appealing value creation.
The next question many of our clients ask us is how they should start engaging with and acquiring a more diverse population of members. Initially, it must start internally with the board. Once you have your executive ducks in a row. It’s time to focus on your member strategy.
According to the 2018 Adobe Digital Trends Report this is the year of CX, (Customer Experience). Or, in this case, what I like to call ‘MX’ (Member Experience).
If your future members are currently at University, then it would be a good idea to start there. The member experience must be the driving force behind almost everything that your organisation stands for.
So, create some initiatives with local educational establishments to create awareness around your offering. Ensure your association’s offering is inclusive by taking time to research and understand what matters to your target members. And create lots of content. Content must be collaborative and consistent. These are just a few of the practical things that your organisation can start to implement today to get further on in your D&I journey.
Your Favourite Story are a strategic analytics consultancy and have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. They help companies find value and growth opportunities from their data, analysing and optimising key customer journeys both on-site and off-site through campaigns.